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Forty 1940s Films: ‘Les Enfants du Paradis (Children Of Paradise)’

Les Enfants du Paradis (Children Of Paradise)

Directed by Marcel Carné

Starring Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, and Pierre Brasseur

France, 190 min – 1945.

Les Enfants du Paradis is a film about that class of people that hangs on the outskirts of 1820s and 30s French society, exuberantly enjoying theatre productions in the ‘Boulevard du Crime.’ It is very much a piece that celebrates the bohemian artist (of an earlier generation than the famed bohemians depicted in Moulin Rouge) and the tragedies of love. This love centers around the beautiful woman-about-town and artist, Garance (Arletty), and the four men who fall in love with her: Jean-Baptiste Debureau (Jean-Louis Barrault), a famous pantomime actor, Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur), an aspiring, classical actor, Pierre-François Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), a criminal, and finally, Count Édouard de Montray (Louis Salou), a rich aristocrat. Each man falls in love with Garance, but she only gives her heart to one of them.

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